Please take a moment to answer: on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being low and 10 being high, how would you rank your relationship with Jesus?
How did you do? Is there some room for growth? If so, how are you going to spend your summer intentionally taking some steps to grow in your faith walk with Jesus?
Lutherans like you and I always begin a journey like this remembering who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us. We just observed Jesus’ death for us on the cross on Good Friday. Sin is the taking of life. We take a life every time our words and actions hurt others to their demise. The price of taking a life is lifeblood. Jesus willingly shed his blood and paid with his life so that we did not have to pay this debt. This is Jesus’ gift to us. We also celebrated Easter where we discovered an empty tomb, a risen Savior, and God’s forever love given to us as a gift as well.
Responding to our Savior’s death and resurrection, we look to take steps to grow in faith. So if you responded to the question above with a 9 or 10, congratulations—share your faith walk by walking beside another person with a lesser score. We need mentors. But if you are like me—on good days an 8, on bad days a 2– let’s be intentional this summer to grow closer to Jesus.
Read your Bible and share what you are thinking about what you read with another person. Don’t worry about being theologically right or deep. Just share and invite another to think and share along with you. Vow to never say, “I’ll pray for you.” Instead, go ahead, right then and there, to pray with and for the person. Dare to post a spiritual reflection on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, Reddit, etc,…with pictures, commentary, &/or video. Read this newsletter with a calendar in hand and make plans on participating in as much as you can to be around people who can help you grow in your walk with Jesus.
God’s grace inspire you to go deeper with our Lord,
Last night at choir practice we began looking at a piece we will sing at Easter. While it felt weird to even say Allelujah during Lent, our quiet Allelujahs as we prepared the music were a welcome relief from a season that is filled with somber, even dark, moments. This month the journey with Jesus comes to an end…the holy supper of Maundy Thursday, the raw human emotions of Good Friday, the grieving agony of Holy Saturday. We accompany our Lord and witness his death. But that is not the end of his story…or ours.
The love story between our Father and humanity continues because our Father’s love for you is continual. God’s love never ceases. God’s love brings new life, resurrection life, to Christ Jesus. And the GREAT news is that God in love brings new life, resurrection life, to you. God wants your witness to his moving in your life to be—what once was dead is not alive. God wants to bring new life to the dark, dead, lifeless parts of your life.
In this newsletter are opportunities to experience and share the new life found in Jesus. I pray you will take advantage of the moments you have to grow in love with our Lord and grow your faith in him. It’s Easter. And may the joy of our living Lord fill you with love, peace, and hope.
Pastor Bill Zima
I like to hike so I love living in NC where there are a plethora of trails in the area. I prepare for each hike. I plan how long I’ll be out, the potential weather, the time of day, and the strenuousness of the trail. The length of time out determines how much water I’ll carry. The potential weather determines what clothing I have stuffed in my pack. The strenuousness of the trail determines my footwear, need of hiking stick, and amount of food I’ll carry. I let someone know where I am going and when I expect to be back, give or take an hour. For all that planning, there finally comes a sacred moment. You step out on the trail. You put one foot in front of the other mindful of the changes in hiking conditions. You stop every now and then to take in the views. But you keep going to see what’s around the bend or over the next ridge. If you’re off on a five-mile hike, you’ll find you’ve taken 7,500 steps + or – a few. You may come back tired, but you have been so enriched by the experience you cannot wait to do it again.
Here in our newsletter, a lot of folks have done an incredible job “preparing for a hike” into experiences of God’s love in worship, service, and fellowship. I’d invite you to pull out your calendar, write the events down, and when the sacred moment comes, step out on the trail. Come see what the Spirit has for you around the next bend or over the next ridge. Plan on being enriched intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually and growing in your faith.
Pastor Bill Zima